IPL 2020 Exclusive: Predicted Playing XI of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

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Young Indian guns and star overseas players, the focus for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as we look at their predicted 11 for IPL 2020.

Two-time champions, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have fixed a few issues leading to the next season of IPL. While the team released Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, and Piyush Chawla ahead of the auction, they did well to find replacements for these cricketers at the IPL 2020 Auction.

KKR’s biggest signing of the auction was Pat Cummins, whom they hired at a whopping INR 1550L. With this move, KKR’s fast-bowling now looks in good shape for the upcoming season. Additionally, the signing of Eoin Morgan for INR 525L gives much-needed stability to the middle-order.

Apart from these marquee signings, KKR also executed a few bargain deals. While the team picked Tom Banton at INR 100L, former Rajasthan Royals cricketer Rahul Tripathi made his way to KKR at INR 60L. Not to forget, KKR had also added Mumbai cricketer, Siddhesh Lad in the trade window.

While the overseas line-up of KKR looks settled, Brendon McCullum could mix it up with his domestic Cricketers. So, let’s have a look at the predicted playing 11 of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for IPL 2020. 

Kolkata Knight Riders, KKR Squad for IPL 2020
Kolkata Knight Riders, KKR Squad for IPL 2020 | © AK4Tsay1 Cricket

The ‘Core’ of KKR: 

The players that would definitely make the playing 11 regardless of playing conditions are Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, and Kuldeep Yadav. Although Eoin Morgan is a certain pick too, he might have to make way if KKR decide to bring Tom Banton to the line-up.

While KKR must take care of the fitness of their overseas stars, a bit more confidence in their domestic players is also needed. Last season, KKR dropped Kuldeep in the middle of the season which affected the team combination. The wrist-spinner is a class act, and needs to play all the games for the franchise.

On that note, here are the options and possibilities can KKR look at when it comes to a proper playing 11.

Option 1: Sunil Narine as a ‘floater’ and a young bowling all-rounder in the mix

Before the season starts, KKR must decide on its opening combination. While the decision to send Narine at the top has paid-off dividends on most of the occasions for the franchise, KKR’s team management decided to not open with Narine in IPL 2019 for majority of the matches. 

If KKR follow a similar strategy this year too, which ideally they shouldn’t, then Narine can be used as a ‘floater’ or a ‘pinch-hitter’ based on the match situation. In that case, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi must open the batting for KKR. Based on Rahul’s current form, KKR can also introduce Siddhesh Lad in the line-up.

Prasidh Krishna, who has done really well for KKR in the past, and has been in good form in the domestic competitions, should get a nod as the second Pacer of the squad. In that case, only one of Shivam Mavi or Kamlesh Nagarkoti will make the playing 11 on home pitches of Kolkata. Varun Chakravarty would have to miss-out in those matches to accommodate an extra Pacer. 

Here’s how the playing 11 would look if KKR uses Narine as a floater, and brings Shivam Mavi into the mix:

Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin  Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (C&WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, and Prasidh Krishna. 

Option 2: Tom Banton at the top

As the season progresses, KKR will try to include Tom Banton in a few of their games. The English wicket-keeper batsman is a hard-hitting opener with a knack of scoring huge sixes. He is an exciting candidate to open the batting on the smaller grounds in India.

However, KKR will have to sacrifice either of Sunil Narine or Eoin Morgan for that to happen. Given Narine’s vitality in the past, Morgan seems the only replaceable foreign cricketer in this line-up. The likes of Rinku Singh or Siddhesh Lad will come in place of the Rahul Tripathi to accommodate Banton at the top.

Here’s Kolkata Knight Riders’ predicted 11 with Tom Banton at the top:

Sunil Narine, Tom Banton, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C&WK), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi/ Varun Chakravarthy, and Prasidh Krishna.

Strongest XI: 

Overall, Kolkata Knight Riders are most likely to field Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, and Pat Cummins as their 4 overseas players; initially at least. This would also be their strongest playing 11 with Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill in the middle-order. This is an ideal line-up if KKR play on spin-friendly pitches. But, they play at home, it is best to play Shivam Mavi ahead of Varun Chakravarthy. 

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) strongest predicted playing 11 for IPL 2020:

Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin  Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (C&WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, and Prasidh Krishna.

So, that’s how Kolkata Knight Riders stand when it comes to their predicted playing 11 for IPL 2020. What changes you would have made to the playing 11? Do let us know in the comments section down below.


ALSO READ: IPL 2020 Exclusive: Rating the Strongest Playing XI of Each Team


©AK4Tsay1 Cricket


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